Yesterday's post, Why new state New England must have its own tourism strategy, dealt with the need for us to have a tourism approach independent of that applied in NSW.
Tourism is all about experiences. An experience is not just a good meal or a cup of coffee on its own, but those things in a context. You can get a good meal or a cup of coffee anywhere. Generally you remember them because something else is added in.
One of the things that I have tried to do in my writing is to draw out a little of the richness of New England life and history. Here I am trying to add a context, something that will make both New Englanders and visitors aware of our special features.
I have often spoken of the unrecognised features of Newcastle, the things that add specific richness to that city, a richness that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Sadly, things that are unrecognised die or are demolished. It is only later that we become aware of what we have lost.
From time to time, I have referred to Newcastle's Urban Insider. This relatively new e-magazine focuses on the texture of Newcastle life. It's great.
Just consider this feature by Matthew Endacott, Curtain Up Newcastle! The Theatre Town That Was. I have written a little on Newcastle's theatre tradition trying to understand something of its history. Matthew's article extends my knowledge.
The point about Newcastle's theatre tradition lies not in the comparison with other places, but in the fact that it is Newcastle's tradition. It is special to Newcastle.
To my mind, the brilliant thing about Urban Insider lies not in its immediate benefit to those living in Newcastle, although that's substantial. Rather, it is part of a process that is accumulating the Newcastle experience and making it available to a world well beyond Newcastle.